Hilo man charged with sexual assault of minor


A 28-year-old Hilo man is accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl almost a year ago.

A Hilo grand jury on July 22 returned a four-count indictment against Dustin K.B. Balai, charging him with three counts of first-degree sexual assault and a single count of third-degree sexual assault.


According to the indictment, the offenses took place on July 14, 2021, when the victim was six.

First-degree sexual assault is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment upon conviction. Third-degree sexual assault is a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

According to a police log, Balai was arrested at 10:31 a.m. Monday and his bail was set at $160,000.

Balai pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday before Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota.

Deputy Prosecutor Winston Albright estimated trial would take two weeks and told the judge Deputy Prosecutor Heipua Ah Loy will be lead prosecutor in the case.

Deputy Public Defender Sherilyn Tavares requested the judge free Balai on court-supervised release without monetary bail or that Kubota reduce Balai’s bail to $32,000. Albright objected and requested Balai’s bail be maintained at $160,000.

Kubota reduced Balai’s bail to $50,000 and ordered him to appear for trial at 9 a.m. Nov. 7.

Should Balai post bail, he’s ordered to remain 100 yards away from the minor and her family, to not reside in the same home with minor children, and to remain away from schools, playgrounds, theaters and other locations where unsupervised minors congregate.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, Balai remained in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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